Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive lawmakers to watch ahead of key House budget vote Pelosi says House working to pass infrastructure bills by Oct. 1 On The Money: Biden’s eviction moratorium kept in place for now by court MORE (D-Calif.) and her leadership team are pressing forward with a risky strategy Monday to move forward on key parts of President BidenJoe BidenHenri downgraded to tropical depression as it dumps rain on northeast Britain to urge G7 leaders to consider adopting sanctions against Taliban: report Five lawmakers to watch ahead of key House budget vote MORE’s domestic agenda while refusing to bend to demands from a handful of centrists.
The plan would see the House vote on a rule Monday night that would deem a $3.5 trillion budget as adopted, while setting up a process for considering a bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the Senate at an unspecified time.
The strategy is risky because 10 centrist Democrats have said they will not back the $3.5 billion budget without voting first on the infrastructure bill. It is not clear these Democrats will vote for the rule deeming the budget as being adopted.
Pelosi can only afford three defections if all Republicans as expected vote against the rule.
If the rule fails, it would be an embarrassing setback for Democrats that would highlight their divisions.
Pelosi has sided with liberals in the House, who make up a large majority of her caucus, in demanding that the House approve the budget before taking action on the infrastructure bill.
Pelosi rarely brings anything to the floor that does not have enough votes to pass, and fellow Democrats on Monday were wondering whether she can somehow find the votes to move the rule forward.
Members of Pelosi’s leadership team sounded uncertain if the plan would actually work.
When asked if Democrats have enough votes to adopt the rule, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) replied: “I have no idea.”
Shortly after top Democrats announced their new plan, Rep. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerFive lawmakers to watch ahead of key House budget vote Pelosi says House working to pass infrastructure bills by Oct. 1 On The Money: Biden’s eviction moratorium kept in place for now by court MORE (D-N.J.), the leader of the group of centrists demanding an immediate vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, huddled with leadership off the House floor for more than an hour. But the meeting did not produce an immediate resolution to the standoff, with Democratic leaders still cagey about the next steps.
When asked if leadership had the votes to adopt the rule, Pelosi replied: “When we bring the bill to the floor, we will.”
One moderate Democrat predicted that the latest strategy wouldn’t fly: “The rule is going down,” the lawmaker told The Hill.
Progressives, meanwhile, expressed frustration with the centrists who only began demanding a swift vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this month even though Pelosi has said for months that the House wouldn’t vote on it until the larger $3.5 trillion spending plan to expand the social safety net is done.
“The idea of just kind of throwing a bomb at the 11th hour, it just doesn’t seem responsible to the people of this country who expect a legislature that works for them,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘Childless cat ladies’ and the long history of regulating who counts as an American Congressional staff pay is still too low BIPOC lives really do matter in new census report MORE (D-N.Y.).
Members of Pelosi’s leadership team framed the vote on the rule as a test of the party unity needed to accomplish Biden’s agenda.
“The rule is about being in the majority. There’s a long way to go on legislative issues that are going to play out over the next month. But for the moment the argument is over shall the House proceed,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: White House rules out extension of pandemic jobless aid | Treasury: Few small business owners will see tax hikes Yellen, Walsh rule out extension of pandemic jobless aid Trump faces legal hurdles in keeping tax returns private MORE (D-Mass.).
The White House also has been working overtime to try to put Democrats on a path to victory.
Labor Secretary Marty WalshMarty WalshOn The Money: White House rules out extension of pandemic jobless aid | Treasury: Few small business owners will see tax hikes Yellen, Walsh rule out extension of pandemic jobless aid Boston mayor compares vaccine passports to documentation required during slavery, birtherism MORE, Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmBill Gates pledges .5B for climate projects in infrastructure bill Energy chief touts electric vehicle funding in Senate plan OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Western wildfires prompt evacuations in California, Oregon| House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water | Granholm announces new building energy codes MORE, Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE, as well as top White House aides Louisa TerrellLouisa TerrellThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by AT&T – Census marks US first: White population shrinks Trouble: IRS funding snags bipartisan infrastructure deal On The Money: Pelosi rebuffs McConnell on infrastructure | White House mounts full-court press on infrastructure deal | Supreme Court leaves CDC eviction moratorium intact MORE, Shuwanza Goff, Brian DeeseBrian DeeseOvernight Energy: White House calls for probe of ‘divergences’ between oil price and gasoline costs | Rail advocates say infrastructure bill falls short | 34 states dealing with heat advisories as Pacific northwest faces new heatwave White House calls for probe of ‘divergences’ between oil price and gasoline costs Steve Ricchetti is Biden’s right-hand man in Senate MORE and Shalanda Young have held calls with members of the Moderate Nine, urging them to back the rule on Monday and hearing their concerns, said a source familiar with the calls.
Naomi Jagoda and Brett Samuels contributed.
Updated 9:03 p.m.